A laboratory for a new economic development
February 2, 2012
The Evergreen Cooperatives initiative is harnessing the spending power of hospitals and universities to rebuild local economies in Cleveland, Ohio. Clare Goff reports
‘Economic development as it’s practised in this country is fundamentally broken. In one of the richest nations on Earth one third of the population live in dire circumstances. What we’ve been doing up until now has not been working.’
Ted Howard, executive director of think tank The Democracy Collective, is convinced of the problem and believes he has found a solution in Evergreen Co-operatives, a scheme he calls a ‘laboratory for a new economic development’.
Cleveland Ohio is one of the poorest places in the United States, a post-industrial city that has witnessed both population and capital flight in the last 30 years. Steel and manufacturing have moved on, leaving healthcare and universities as the biggest local employers. It is these anchor institutions – and their large procurement budgets – that are at the centre of the city’s drive to rebuild its local wealth.